A recent major OSHA citation incident has been getting the attention of many workplace leaders. A company in Houston was cited with six other-than-serious violations, three repeat violations and 10 serious violations. The cost of these issues totaled more than $160,000. The incident is a good reminder to employers everywhere that having a solid safety program is crucial.
The Houston company that was cited failed to retrain employees on hearing protection use and refit them for hearing protection devices. When annual tests were conducted, the results showed that some employees suffered notable hearing loss. The company also failed to secure dock boards, which forklifts were driving on. In addition to this, the company did not provide the MSDS sheets that OSHA requires. If inspectors find that the probability of death or physical harm is high, a serious citation is issued. These are always things that a vigilant employer would have noticed. This Houston company also received repeat violations for failing to maintain an electrical conduit, which was pulled back. They also did not provide machine guarding for a wood chipping machine’s rotating shafts. In the prior two years, the company was fined over $100,000 for other violations.
These same mistakes can happen anywhere. In some cases, they may be a result of workers being in a rush. For example, if a busy employer does not adequately describe injuries that happen on the job, a citation may be issued. Limited details may seem like concise ways of describing incidents, but it is important to include as many details as possible. Communication and documentation are very important in maintaining workplace safety. Having log books where employees are required to initial important tasks is essential. In the case of the cited Houston company, not documenting the workers’ unsafe exposure to hearing hazards without adequate protection was a big mistake.
When a company repeatedly violates safety regulations, the health of workers is put at risk. Although the world is much more informed because of the availability of information on the Internet, employers should never assume that workers know how to stay safe on the job. Many employers also do not fully understand how to avoid citations. Having a detailed safety program is important, and the program should be reviewed frequently. For information about implementing a solid safety program, discuss this important issue with an agent. Reviewing a safety plan is also important. Many companies upgrade equipment, and safety standards may change. It is important to keep current with all safety regulations. Employers may also contact OSHA for in-depth information. Providing a safe workplace is the employer’s responsibility, and the price of failing to do so is very high.